Behold the Beautiful Dung Beetle

Overview

Simple science text and dramatic illustrations give a close-up view of the fascinating world of the dung beetle. When an animal lightens its load, dung beetles race to the scene. They battle over, devour, hoard, and lay their eggs in the precious poop. Dung is food, drink, and fuel for new life—as crucial to these beetles as the beetles are to many habitats, including our own.

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Overview

Simple science text and dramatic illustrations give a close-up view of the fascinating world of the dung beetle. When an animal lightens its load, dung beetles race to the scene. They battle over, devour, hoard, and lay their eggs in the precious poop. Dung is food, drink, and fuel for new life—as crucial to these beetles as the beetles are to many habitats, including our own.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Bardoe treats what might be considered a disgusting subject with interest and respect. On every continent but Antarctica dung beetles are at work, “…snagging…the precious poop” unloaded by animals of all kinds. Sensing the dung, the beetles race to collect it. Brief sentences on one side of the double pages tell part of the story while on the other side much more detailed information is given. The beetles squeeze the liquid out of the dung; then three different kinds of beetles each treat the remainder differently. There is fierce competition among them for the dung. Meanwhile, eggs are laid. They hatch into grubs, “nestled in dung,” which repels predators. The grub becomes a pupa and finally emerges as an adult. Using watercolors and pencil, Marks depicts the beetles naturalistically and comprehensively in their natural settings across the double pages. Their activities and struggles are vividly portrayed. Additional factual information is included, plus a glossary and bibliography. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz; Ages 5 to 8.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-01-15
Despite its slightly unsavory habits, this important beetle deserves a chance to shine. Bardoe eases into discussing dung by mentioning that an animal, somewhere in the world this very second, is "lightening its load." Beetles flock to one dung pat by the thousands, sometimes getting there a mere 15 seconds after it was dropped. There are three different types of dung beetles—dwellers, rollers and tunnelers—and as Bardoe nonchalantly describes, each "has a different way of enjoying the poop." From rolling smooth balls of dung (and performing acrobatic moves to transport it) to getting into fights to catch the fancy of a mate, these tiny beetles are quite entertaining. Each double-page spread contains text in two fonts: The larger-type text is chatty and informative, while the smaller provides more detail. Both sets are immensely readable. Golden watercolor sunsets and vast open plains surround the text. Compelling close-ups show deep tunnels and every part of the beetle. The exalted tone of the title and cover illustration of a dung beetle in a triumphant, legs-to-the-heavens stance may seem a bit excessive at first. But no doubt by the end, readers will find it difficult not to join in the adulation. An excrement—er, excellent—read. (appended facts, beetle diagram, glossary, bibliography) (Informational picture book. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781580895545
  • Publisher: Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 803,244
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Cheryl Bardoe

Cheryl Bardoe is the author of two Orbis Pictus Honor books, Mammoths and Mastodons: Titans of the Ice Age (Abrams, 2010) and Gregor Mendel: The Friar Who Grew Peas (Abrams, 2006), as well as The Ugly Duckling Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Tale (Abrams, 2011). She lives near Hartford, Connecticut, with her family.

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Read an Excerpt

Somewhere in the world right now an animal is lightening its load—
in your backyard,
on a nearby farm,
in a forest,
on a grassland far away.

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